Super Formula, Suzuka, 2015

Rain-hit Suzuka double-header decides Super Formula title

Weekend Racing Wrap

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The Japanese Super Formula championship was decided after a pair of dramatic races at a wet Suzuka.

Last weekend also saw four-times Australian V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup lose his grip on the title, another twist in the NASCAR title fight, and an eventful second Formula E race in Malaysia.

Super Formula

Races seven and eight: Suzuka Circuit, Japan

TOM’s team mates and ex-F1 drivers Andre Lotterer and Kazuki Nakajima arrived in Suzuka both looking to claim another Japanese Super Formula championship title. However both were defeated by Hiroaki Ishiura – the only driver to score in every race this year.

Lotterer’s weekend was his season in microcosm: he won race one comfortably, but retired early in the second. Ishiura withstood an attack from Kamui Kobayashi to take second in the first race, with Nakajima off the podium in fourth after a crash-strewn race.

Honda’s 14-month wait for a win was ended by Naoki Yamamoto in race two while Ishiura and Nakajima’s position were reversed from the first race. Ishiura therefore sealed the title, and next year he may find himself defending it from McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne, who is reportedly lining up a move to the fastest open wheel series outside of Formula One.

V8 Supercars

Round 12: Pukekohe Park Raceway, New Zealand

Jamie Whincup won two of the three races at Pukekohe, including the final which paid twice as many points. But despite adding second place in the other race the man who has taken six of the last seven titles was mathematically eliminated with two rounds to go.

The other race was won by championship leader Mark Winterbottom’s closest rival – Dave Reynolds – but only after Triple Eight’s Craig Lowndes suffered a dramatic tyre failure at 140mph down the pit straight, sending him spinning backwards into the wall. Fortunately he escaped injury.

Next race: Phillip Island, Victoria (21st – 22nd November)

Formula E

Round 2: Putrajaya, Malaysia

Sebastien Buemi eased to his second pole position in two races and looked to be heading towards a repeat of his comfortable Beijing victory, only for his car to stop just a few laps before the pit stop phase. By the time Buemi managed to restart most of the field had passed him, and EDams’ were also worrying about their other car.

Nicolas Prost led after the pit stop phase but overheating batteries left him urgently needing to save power. Lucas di Grassi therefore took the lead from Antonio Felix da Costa.

The final eight laps were pure drama: Da Costa dropped back with a power problem and Loic Duval, Robin Frijns and Jerome D’Ambrosio all made contact with the wall. Prost narrowly avoided a similar fate, while up front di Grassi finally secured a follow-up to his victory in last year’s inaugural race. Sam Bird rose from 14th to take second, and Frijns dragged his battered car across the line for the final podium place.

Next race: Punta del Este, Uruguay (19th December)


Round 34: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth

A spate of tyre failures caused problems for several drivers on NASCAR’s return visit to Texas Motor Speedway. Jimmie Johnson passed Bred Keselowski to take his first win since May, while championship contenders Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano were among those to suffer punctures. The latter, despite having won three times in the last four weeks, now must win the next race at Phoenix to stay in the championship hunt at the season finale under NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup rules.

Next race: Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale (15th November)

Also last weekend

Jorge Lorenzo clinched the Moto GP championship in Valencia as Valentino Rossi climbed from last place to fourth, falling five points short of the title.

Over to you

What are your thoughts on this years Super Formula and Moto GP champions? And what did you think of the chaos we saw in Formula E? Let us know in the comments below.

Next weekend Formula One heads to Brazil for it’s penultimate round of the season, while the World Rally Championship ends in Wales. NASCAR also continues as the eliminator round comes to an end at Phoenix International Raceway.

NB. Moto GP owners Dorna are now blocking their YouTube videos from being embedded.

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  • 23 comments on “Rain-hit Suzuka double-header decides Super Formula title”

    1. Loic Duval, Robin Frijns and Jerome D’Ambrosio all went out in separate crashes

      Frijns didn’t go out though, he managed to continue for the remainder of the race (3-4 laps?) and finished third as detailed in the report above.

      1. and Frijns dragged his battered car across the line for the final podium place.

        @tonyyeb Wasn’t it only the last lap?

        Anyway, I keep repeating myself, if Buemi is without bad luck he will ease to this title. Comfortably the fastest one on one lap and over a race distance.

        1. Wasn’t it only the last lap?

          I don’t think so. Franchitti said on the commentary he had lost 4 seconds to fourth on the previous lap (with the damage) and had an 8 second gap.

          1. @xtwl Just watched the video, he hits the wall on lap 30/33.

            1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
              9th November 2015, 13:15

              Yeah he brought it home crabbing over 3 laps. I was surprised at just how much he was flooring it, very impressive car control.

              Heidfeld keeping it out of the wall was another highlight for me.

              It might be a bit slow and a bit silly, but I really look forward to these action packed races, the depth of talent and fresh technology more than make up for it. One ironic point is that when the get rid of the need to change cars in a few years, this will take away the major cause of these second half shake-ups, and might become quite processional.

              Battery changing pit-stops perhaps?

      2. I must say that I am super glad that even despite oversleeping and missing the first part of the race, I greatly enjoyed seeing the last 7-10 laps or so of it.

        WOW, that was so much up and down. Bird finishing in 2nd, Frijns taking his bent car to the finish and get on the podium too. Di Grassi coming through by expert management of the car when it mattered. Yeah, Malaysia really was a test to the cars and the drivers alike.

        If Formula E brings us more races like this, I think we can make it a fix feature. Also nice to see that the Fanboost was more or less irrelevant all race.

        1. Also nice to see that the Fanboost was more or less irrelevant all race.

          Has it ever been relevant?

        2. In the end, fanboost was never really mattered because on most race they already on the limit in terms of energy storage. The guy that got the fanboost can be much faster, but that energy must came from somewhere and in most races, they ended up being less than 10% when they crossed the finish line.

    2. Super Formula – the FASTER cars in the world through turns… it used to be f1 before f1 became rotten. Super Formula could be the ultimate open wheel motorsport if the fitted more powerful engines, they could be F1 cars quite easily. They race on pretty good tracks also

    3. Congratulations for Jorge for the world title (although he’ll be hated for that) & Vale for his “outstanding” driving style.

      1. Definitely a tainted championship but I am not blaming Jorge for it, Vale deserved a championship this year and I expect that he would have won had last years champion not been a poor sportsman and interfered out of spite.

        1. but I am not blaming Jorge for it.
          Neither do I..

          1. LOL.., no edit button..xD

        2. So Vale deserved the championship and Marc was a poor sportman. Well, if kicking down your rival isn’t poor sportmanship then I don’t know what qualifies.

          I have been a fan of Vale for many years but now he’s fallen from grace and he’ll never recover. The sooner he retires the better.

          1. You should look at the helicopter shots of the incident before you are so hard on Vale


            Marquez was mid-accident and leaning on Rossis bike, Rossi moved his foot away from Marquez’ bike, he probably didn’t want to get injured! He then replaced it on the peg quickly, yes, from track side it looked for all the world like a kick, it wasn’t though.

            Thought the only Spaniard who came out of this with any credit was Pedrosa, who was trying to win in the last 2 laps in Valencia, Marquez never made a single attempt to pass in the entire race, despite being so close. When have you ever seen that happen before? Marquez actually ruined Dani’s attempt by blocking him. Marquez is the talent of the current field without a doubt, but he should use it for racing for victories, not this BS.

          2. I have been a fan of Vale for many years but now he’s fallen from grace and he’ll never recover.

            He’s Ayrton two wheels version, my friend. He’ll will recover.

    4. I enjoy the FE racing also. Renault leading the charge technologically but suffering more reliability problems only serves to add to the drama. Very glad this is not a spec series.

      And quite honestly, there is no excuse that Bird and Frinjs never started an F1 race. Without this series their open wheel careers would probably be over, but as we saw in Putrajaya, that would be a travesty. Da Costa too has been impressive.

    5. I went to the Formula E race in Putrajaya, and while I wasn’t expecting as much of a show than in F1 I have to say I was pleasantly surprised!

      The race was full of action and while it was a bit difficult to follow what was going on due to the lack on big screens around the circuit it was well offset by the fact you can get REALLY close behind the fence and see the car closing in at the corner exits! It might even be a bit too close because I can relate to the sand Di Grassi is talking about, having received myself quite a bit for a couple of laps after the start!

      The noise is pretty interesting and very futuristic, the cars are sliding and feels like miniatures rather than racing cars but I guess it goes very well with the overall atmosphere of Formula E: It’s all fun and relaxed, the organisation was a bit “light” with timing, drivers were having a good laugh together, the winners go through an impromptu wall of fans before joining the podium… it’s very spetactors friendly and all-in-all feels more lively and real than the all-too-much-serious-business that F1 has become.

      The serie is still very young obviously and it was quite a shame that the grandstands were totally empty, even with a free general admission tickets I guess there was no more than 400 spectators around the circuit… But anyway, I had a blast of a saturday and those technology packed cars, interesting young drivers and former big names (I even managed to congratulate Villeneuve on his ’97 championship, me, the Ferrari fanboy!), have got themselve a new fan that will follow the championship way more closely!

      In the meantime and before the next race in Punta Este, please feel free to have a look at my photo album of the event and share/like if you appreciate!


    6. I don’t care what anyone says, I loved every Formula E race last season and I’m loving this season too.

      Formula EJ, #fanboost, car changes – they don’t even bother me anymore. I’m a total FE fanboy.

      Frijns limping around sideways for 3 laps to get a podium has to be one of my favourite open-wheeler visuals ever.

    7. Formula E throws up some truly brilliant racing – I hope that over the next few years people will start to look past how “slow” the cars are as apart from that the racing is great and it more than makes up for the lack of speed – something which over the years you would expect to increase as technology improves.

      This season however is going to be an edams renault walkover by Buemi I feel – their car is so much quicker than everyone else and Buemi is much quicker than Nico Prost. They struggled purely on reliability at Malaysia which happened to alot of people because of the high heat – Buemi was fully in control with good battery life and a 5s gap until his car gave up – not many countries on the calendar will put that level of strain on the cars cooling system and on the majority of circuits I expect the edams renault team to be the Merc of Formula E.

      It is also great to see Nelson Piquet Jr back where he belongs, fighting at the back of the grid.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        10th November 2015, 13:13

        Haha in total agreement about NPJR

    8. Formula E has landed in my mind’s BTCC-zone… a series I keep meaning to watch, but I never remember to check when it’s on.

      Need to sort that out because it always seems nice and exciting.

      1. It’s not helped by the seemingly scattergun approach to scheduling.

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